Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

Governor Inslee:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: No Longer Willing to Cooperate with Coastal Commission - Files Suit, Again

To Delay Coastal Act Compliance, Drakes Bay Oyster Co. Sues Commission Again
(see announcement below)
Likes to litigate
Peter Prows
Public Relations Attorney
for Drakes Bay Oyster Company
July 19: The Contra Costa Times reported attorney Prows as saying: "We want to comply and have been complying," Prows said, noting the oyster company has developed several plans to address the commission's concerns. "We are happy to keep working with the commission."

January 30: Never mind, it's your fault, and because we are aquaculture we get a pass. Plus, you are supposed to promote and protect us.
Following a well established pattern of claiming to be willing to cooperate then filing suit to delay actions, Drakes Bay Oyster Company has sued the California Coastal Commission to delay their dealing with violations, some existing seven years. But this time they claim their violations are not violations because they are aquaculture. In fact, DBOC goes one step further, claiming that aquaculture trumps all, including the Wilderness Act.

Like a cancer spreading
adversely impacting eelgrass
Didemnum vexillum continues to be spread through DBOC action
In the mean time, like a tumor shedding cells which metastasize elsewhere in the body, Drakes Estero continues to feel the impact from Drakes Bay Oyster Company's operations. Their artificial structures and planted shellfish create a surface area for Dv which, when harvested, result in matured colonies of Dv breaking lose and spreading throughout Drakes Estero. As a result, eelgrass, one of the critical habitats in shallow marine waters for numerous marine species, is now being adversely impacted. This is the very Dv which Mr. Prows professed to be willing to work with the commission about. It is one of the few areas where eelgrass is being overtaken.

"I don't understand why...."
Really? It's not complicated.
Mrs. Lunny in front of a disarray of
plastic grow out bags used by
DBOC in the marine wilderness area.
We're a shellfish farm, we should be able to do what we want to. Even if it's a wilderness area.
In the cross-complaint Drakes Bay Oyster Company's public relations attorney Peter Prows claims that because DBOC is aquaculture they should not be regulated by the Coastal Act but instead be protected and promoted. That Drakes Estero is a designated wilderness area seems lost on he, the Lunny family, and their supporters. Artificial structures made of pressure treated wood from which metal and plastic are used for non-naitive shellfish to be grown should be promoted. Artificial grow-out bags which scour the sediments they sit on should be allowed in a wilderness area because of an attorney's odd perception that aquaculture trumps the Wilderness Act. Any activity along the coastline, if promoted in the name of aquaculture, should be given a pass, no matter what the impact on native species or the habitat supporting them. Any activity perceived as a threat to aquaculture should be banned - including cattle ranching if it pollutes the water.
Part of the "plan" to eliminate cattle ranching in all of Marin County
What is most ironic of all is Ms. Faber's involvement. Contained within the body of the complaint is the clear threat to any activity which threatens a body of water in which shellfish might be able to grow. Whether a development or cattle ranching, if it is perceived as a threat to aquaculture DBOC says it must go. Included is cattle ranching because it threatens the quality of water their shellfish grow in.
Aquaculture is not restoration
Aquaculture is not restoration - it is a commercial activity and Drakes Estero is a designated wilderness area
Aquaculture is not restoration. It is a commercial activity using structures, motorized vehicles, and in the case of DBOC, growing non-native species. Harvesting activities disrupt an ecosystem, destroying the artificial habitat at harvest time, over and over. Unlike San Francisco Bay where shellfish reefs are being restored, in Drakes Estero shellfish reefs are being destroyed. In a wilderness area. It's not complicated.
Press Release
For Immediate Release
Contact:  Amy Trainer, (415) 306-6052 
To Delay Coastal Act Compliance Drakes Bay Oyster Co. Sues Coastal Commission Again
Company’s operations continue to threaten ecological health of Drakes Estero Marine Wilderness area 
Point Reyes, California –  Almost one year after the California Coastal Commission unanimously issued a unilateral Cease and Desist Order against the controversial Drakes Bay Oyster Company (Company) for egregious violations of the California Coastal Act, the Company remains in substantial non-compliance with the Act and yesterday sued the Commission again to continue avoiding legal compliance.  The Company, whose federal lease expired on November 30, 2012 and will not be renewed, demands that the Commission grant it a coastal development permit despite the fact that it does not have approval from the property owner – the National Park Service - for ongoing operations.
“It’s outrageous that since its inception the Drakes Bay Oyster Company has refused to get an operating permit and has ignored all of the most basic coastal protection regulations, yet now sues the Commission for what the Company failed to do for seven years,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. “This unsustainable Company that pollutes our beaches, causes the spread of invasive species, and disturbs harbor seal has no place in a national park wilderness area. The Drakes Bay Oyster Company needs to stop wasting taxpayer resources on frivolous lawsuits and instead use its apparently considerable financial resources to protect the Estero’s ecology and make some meaningful progress on its shameful Coastal Act noncompliance record,” said Trainer.
As a result of its refusal to get a coastal development permit since 2005, the controversial Company has violated harbor seal protection requirements, failed to control significant amounts of its plastic that has polluted the marine environment and beaches all over the Point Reyes National Seashore, failed to pay fines of $61,250 imposed in 2009 for illegal activities, failed to get permission to grow invasive Manila clams, and failed to address the increasing amount of the invasive sea squirt Didemnum vexillum (Dvex) or “marine vomit” that its oyster operations and practices perpetuate. scientific report released last October revealed that the controversial Company’s production of millions of non-native Japanese oysters is perpetuating “alarming” amounts of the highly aggressive and invasive “marine vomit” and threatens the ecological health of Drakes Estero marine wilderness area.
The study, prepared by Jude Stalker, an experienced Bay Area invasive species removal specialist, documented that  the marine vomit has infested the non-native oysters and oyster infrastructure. Shockingly the marine vomit has invaded both dead and live eelgrass that exists next to the marine vomit-coated oysters and racks on the floor of Drakes Estero. Dvex is considered to be a significant threat to the health of marine ecosystems because of its documented ability to spread rapidly, smother native flora and habitats, and thereby reduce the biodiversity of natural areas. Eelgrass dominates the bottom habitat of Drakes Estero, thus the potential adverse impact from the ongoing Dvex infestation by the Company is substantial.
 “Despite awareness of the increasing marine vomit infestation on its non-native oysters, the Company has failed to take responsibility for or take any steps to remediate this serious ecological mess,” Trainer said. Research has shown that a rapid response to a Dvex infestation is essential to successfully manage and ensure its removal from a natural area. The report recommended the immediate removal of Dvex from all infested sources in the Estero, including infested oysters, infested oyster cultivation infrastructure, infested live and dead eelgrass, and any other infested natural substrate.
The Drakes Bay Oyster Company was denied for the second time a preliminary injunction to keep operating by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on September 3rd and was denied its request for review of that decision by an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit on January 14th.  Drakes Bay Oyster Company was removed from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Partner list 4 years ago and is being supported by the Koch brothers funded Pacific Legal Foundation and Americans For Prosperity in its quest to commercialize Drakes Estero Wilderness.
# # # 

Amy Trainer
Executive Director
Environmental Action Committee of West Marin
Box 609 Point Reyes, CA 94956

(415) 663-9312 office
(415) 306-6052 cell

Protecting West Marin Since 1971!
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as long as life lasts.  ~ Rachel Carson

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